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IJON (ī'jŏn, Heb. ‘îyôn, a ruin). A town in the territory of Naphtali. It was captured by Ben-Hadad, king of Syria, at the instigation of Asa (1Kgs.15.20; 2Chr.16.4). Its inhabitants were subsequently carried into captivity by Tiglath-Pileser in the reign of Pekah (2Kgs.15.29). The site is located about eight miles (thirteen km.) NW of Banias.

IJON ĭ’ jŏn (עִיֹּ֣ון, heap [?]). A town of Naphtali in the Huleh Valley, nine m. N of Abelbeth-maacah, on the road coming from Hazor. The valley is bounded on the W by the Litani River and on the E by Mount Hermon. Both Amen-hotep II and Rameses II took this route on their campaigns that took them up to the Orontes River. Northern invaders used this route to enter Pal, e.g. Ben-hadad of Damascus (1 Kings 15:20) during Baasha’s reign, and Tiglath-pileser III of Assyria (2 Kings 15:29) in the deportation in the reign of Pekah.

The name appears on several texts: the 19th cent. Execration texts list c’yn (no. E. 18) as one of the sixty-four place names given on these figurines. Thutmose III gives the same spelling in his roster of 119 Canaanite towns (no. 95). Tiglath-pileser III does not list this town, but he does mention the city to the S in a broken passage of the Nimrud tablet.

The site is prob. to be identified with modern Tell Dibbîn near Merj ’ayûn, which seems to preserve the ancient name. Others have doubted this identification because surface explorations have not yielded any Iron II (900-600 b.c.) pottery, as the narratives in Kings requires.


G. Posener, Princes et Pays d’Asie et de Nubie (1940), 74; Y. Aharoni, Land of the Bible (1967), 151, 264, 328, 329.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

A town in the territory of Naphtali, first mentioned in connection with the invasion of Ben-hadad, in the reign of Baasha. It was captured along with Da and Abel-beth-maacah (1Ki 15:20; 2Ch 16:4). It shared with these cities a similar fate at the hands of Tiglath-pileser in the reign of Pekah (2Ki 15:29). The name survives in that of Merj A`yun, "meadow of springs," a rich, oval-shaped plain to the Northwest of Tell el Qady, where the LiTany turns sharply westward to the sea. The ancient city may be represented by Tell Dibbin, an important site to the North of the plain.